Canada and Russia Relations

Russian to Sanctions?

Economic Sanctions Placed on Russia By Canada

So whats wrong with Mother Russia?

In the past year, tensions have sharply risen in the Ukrainian Border Region of Russia- specifically Crimea. Tensions all began in November 2013 when Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych abandoned plans to sign an agreement with the European Union, instead announcing that Ukraine would strengthen ties with Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent Post Soviet States. This angered Ukrainians enough for them to take to the streets in the hundreds of thousands to protest. The December 2013 announcement of a deal with Russia including $15 billion in loans and gas subsidies generated more protests, adding unwanted fuel to an unwanted fire.

On February 22, the Ukrainian parliament voted to impeach President Yanukovych. That same night, he fled to Russia.  On February 28, 2014, Russian troops occupied Crimea’s airports and other strategic facilities (Crimea is known for its military assets). Ukraine’s interior minister described it as a “military invasion and occupation”. More than 5,400 people have died since the conflict began (BBC Europe, February 11 2015).

Photo Citation: Dukor, G (Photographer) September 8 2012, Retrieved April 2nd 2015 From http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/harper-pu...

Canadian Sanctions Related to Russia. (n.d.). Retrieved April 2, 2015, from http://www.international.gc.ca/sanctions/countrie...

What Does Canada Have to do With It ?

Well, in light of these events, to follow the Western Powers, Canada decided to side with Ukraine in this conflict supporting stability in the region, and imposed Economic Sanctions to Russia.

On March 17, 2014, the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations (“the Regulations”) came into force.

The Regulations impose an asset freeze on designated persons. They prohibit persons in Canada and Canadians abroad from:

  • dealing in any property held by or on behalf of a designated person, or facilitating or providing financial or other related services in respect of such a dealing;
  • making any goods available to a designated person; and
  • providing any financial or related services to or for the benefit of a designated person. ( Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada, 2015-02-18)

Canada is also a Member of the G7. Canada joined the G7 in 1976,  The Group of Seven (G7) is a forum for the leaders of seven of the world’s most industrialized nations, aimed at finding common ground to address some of the most challenging global issues. The G7 includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States. While the leaders of these countries are in regular contact, they meet in summit format as the G7 once a year. (Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development of Canada, 2015-01-29).

The G7 operated as a forum of 8 members from 1997 until 2013, with its 8th Member being Russia. Due to recent events, the G8 suspended Russia's Membership and returned to its G7 Forum. Canada did not oppose Russia's suspension therefore participating and agreeing with the alienation of Russia due to its actions in Ukraine, further than its own sanctions.

G7. (2015, January 29). Retrieved April 2, 2015, from http://www.international.gc.ca/g8/index.aspx?lang...

Why Does Canada Care?

Well its not like all these actions to alienate Russia have not gone without consequences. On a world scale, not directly caused by Canada, we saw how Russia's massive influx of its oil into OPEC production extremely manipulated the oil market, creating a massive inflation, lowering gas prices greatly. While Canada did take a somewhat of a personal hit in the oil situation with the loss of value in its dollar, it will take more more of a personal hit in its direct economic relationship with Russia.

After Canada's sanctions on Russia, Russia retaliated with banning Canadian food products for up to one year. Russia’s ban includes meat, fish, milk and milk products, and fruit and vegetables, but will mostly affect the pork industry. Canadian agricultural/agri-food exports to Russia, excluding seafood, totaled $321,913,234 in 2013, according to Foreign Affairs and Trade Development Canada. Meat accounted for almost 20 per cent of that. (Global News, 2014)

David Welch, CIGI Senior Fellow and Chair of Global Security at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, University of Waterloo said: “Just eyeballing the lists, I would say this tit-for-tat is going to hurt Russia more than Canada. We [Canada] can find alternative markets for our food products more easily than Russia can find alternative sources.” (Global News, 2014). This does not mean that Canada goes unharmed. Canada ill still take a toll, and this toll due to Canada actions of enforcing sanctions on Russia extents our interest in this Ukraine Crisis much past Foreign Affairs. As a small side note, Canada has had and will be having its own battle with Russia over Arctic Sovereignty, so who knows what the actions taken against Russia in Ukraine by Canada will influence or even foreshadow the policy to come in the Arctic.

Tucker, E. (2014, August 7). Canada vs. Russia: Who has more to lose in latest round of sanctions? Retrieved April 2, 2015, from http://globalnews.ca/news/1497344/canada-vs-russi...

Photo Citation: Charlie Neibergall (Photographer) The Canadian Press Retrieved April 2nd 2015 from http://globalnews.ca/news/1497344/canada-vs-russia...

Speaking of Foreign Affairs...

What do these actions mean for Canada's Foreign Affairs. In its history, Canada has hardly ever been the leader in most policies against nations of discontent, but it seems against Russia, Canada is finally stepping up to the plate. In this years G20 summit (a larger version of the G7), Harper's spokesman, Jason MacDonald, said the prime minister was speaking to a group of G20 leaders at the retreat when Putin approached and extended his hand. MacDonald said Harper told Putin: "I guess I'll shake your hand but I have only one thing to say to you: You need to get out of Ukraine." The action was described by the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott as "how to shirtfront the Russian president." Shirtfront is an Australian expression for smack down. (CBC, 2014)

Not just that, but the picture shown above was an actual tweet, tweeted by the Canadian NATO Delegation, and was joked around on the internet as "Canada's most aggressive act since 1812". We were also one of the first Western Nations to put sanctions on Russia. If Canada keeps up this aggressive Foreign Policy, it wont be a joke for very long. While Canada may gain respect from pro Ukraine nations, it may hinder our relationship with pro Russian nations like China. These consequences don't seem relevant in the short run, but we still do not know how long will this conflict go on for, and just how much damage will it cause.

Press, T. (2014, November 15). Stephen Harper at G20 tells Vladimir Putin to 'get out of Ukraine' Retrieved April 2, 2015, from http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/stephen-harper-at-g2...

Photo Citation: #BBCTrending: Canada and Russia in Twitter fight over map. (2014, August 28). Retrieved April 2, 2015, from http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-28961152

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